Stories of Arda Home Page
About Us News Resources Login Become a member Help Search

Cousins On Watch  by Anso the Hobbit



"No, please no..." whispered Frodo. "Merry can't die, not after everything that we have been through. Please, Aragorn! Can't you help him?" Frodo stroked Merry`s curls, frightened eyes pleading for the King to help. This had happened so very quickly, so unexpectedly, and he could not lose Merry now. The War was over, they had survived, and the Ring was destroyed. They would go home soon!

Merry shifted a little on his bed, oblivious to the world outside his own misery. Frodo shook his head in disbelief. He could not understand this. Merry had not appeared at breakfast, so Pippin had gone in search of his cousin and found him ill in bed. This came on very suddenly, as there had been no sign that Merry was not feeling well the previous day.


“Don’t worry, Frodo,” Aragorn said, after feeling the cold of Merry`s arm in contrast to the burning heat of the rest of his body. “Merry has been through some of this before.”


“But why is his arm so cold now?” Merry had told Frodo most of what had happened on the Pelennor Fields and in the Houses of Healing. What he himself could not remember, Pippin had supplied. Frodo knew that stabbing the Witch King would do much the same to Merry as being stabbed by the same evil creature had done to Frodo at Weathertop. But had he been like this after he had been wounded?


“His body’s reactions are very similar to how your body reacted after Weathertop.” Aragorn said, as if reading Frodo`s mind. “Your shoulder and side were cold too. “


“Yes, but I also felt like I was burning up, the pain was that intense. But why is Merry so feverish now? He was well yesterday.”


“You had a slight fever for most of the time due to the wound, and that cannot be compared to what ails Merry now. Merry`s fever is caused by something other than an injury.”


Aragorn examined Merry, and was pleased when he found that there were cures for what ailed him. Then he started asking questions.


“Pippin, what happened?”



When Pippin did not come back from looking for Merry, Frodo had abandoned his own breakfast and gone after him. Perhaps if Sam had been there Frodo would not have been so quick to go and search for his cousins, but he had gone with Legolas and some other elves to Ithilien at Faramir's suggestion to look at some sort of plants. If everything had been fine, Pippin would have come directly back, at least with some kind of message, probably about Merry just wanting to sleep in. Frodo had hurried to the sleeping chambers of the little house they shared while staying in Minas Tirith, and found his cousins in Merry`s room, Pippin doing all he could to help Merry.

“Go get Strider!” Pippin had yelled at him, before Frodo had even come completely into the room.

“Merry!” Frodo said, and came forward despite the urgency in Pippin’s voice. “What’s happened? Pippin, what is wrong?”

“I don’t know. He was like this when I came in. He looks like he’s lost to the world! And his arm is cold again.” Pippin said, gently soothing Merry`s face with a cool cloth hoping that his ministrations would bring his cousin round, not caring about the tears that silently crept down his own cheeks.

Merry did not look well, that Frodo saw clearly. He was sweaty and feverish, clutching his injured arm with his good hand, curled up into a tight ball. His eyes were glazed and Frodo could not make eye contact with him.

“I’ll get Strider!” He said, and hurried out of the room. What in the name of all that was good, was wrong with his dear Merry?


Aragorn was hovering over Merry.

Would his dear cousin die, Frodo wondered as the King poked and prodded a bit more on Merry. Frodo knew that Aragorn had healed Merry with athelas when he had been brought to the Houses of Healing, but as he had not seen his cousin so affected by the Black Breath before, Frodo was terrified. Merry was so terribly pale, his face grey. Suddenly Frodo remembered that Merry had been touched by the Black Breath before while he was taking a walk in Bree. There he had just fallen unconscious to the ground, a fright the only “injury”. But then Merry had also been at Weathertop. That made three times. Frodo heard Pippin whimper, and quickly caught the young hobbit up in a hug, holding him close. Pippin sniffled a little, but showed no more evidence of tears. He remembered that Pip had been with Merry through this before, and that he was more prepared for this than Frodo himself was. Frodo wiped a hand over his own face, brushing away tears he had not been aware of shedding, squaring his shoulders. They would get through this, they had to!

“There is illness spreading amongst the Rohirrim, and he may of course have caught something from them. He is often among them. Has he complained to any of you?”

“No, but he’s had problems using his hand, and it is still cold at times.” Pippin said.

“He is weakened after stabbing that foul creature.” Aragorn said.

“That might be the reason then. Merry would not react like this to a simple sickness. He is one of the healthiest hobbits I know. He almost never comes down with anything. It`s a long time since he was ill in bed for some reason.” Frodo said. Pippin nodded.

“Yes. It’s usually Frodo or me who ends up in bed with a cold or a fever.” He smiled, despite the dramatic situation.

“Let’s see what some athelas can do for him then.” Aragorn said. He had brought several fresh leaves with him, and when Merry breathed in the scent of athelas steeped in hot water, he uncurled and closed his eyes, his whole body relaxing. He stopped clutching his icy hand.

“Merry? Merry! Are you with us?”

Merry opened his eyes again, two hobbits and a man slowly coming into focus. “Strider!” He said. “Pip…Frodo... What are you all doing here? And…” He looked around, finding himself lying in bed. “What am I doing in bed? What is the time?”

“Almost time for elevenses. How do you feel, Merry?” Aragorn asked.

Merry lay back and thought for a moment. “My arm was cold again, but it’s better now.” He sneezed, suddenly. “And I feel rather stuffy and achy.”

“You are ill. There are a lot of the Rohirrim soldiers who have been unwell the past few days, you know.”

“Yes. But my arm should not feel like this if all I have is a bout of the sniffles, should it?”

“No, not normally. But” Aragorn looked at Frodo and Pippin now “all of you are weakened after what you have achieved in this war. And it is not that long since you were healed, Merry. Two months is not a very long time.”

“No, I guess you are right. What happens now then? May I get up?”

“You are staying in bed today, and I’ll be back to see how you are faring tomorrow morning before I let you out of bed. If anything changes for the worse, call for me at once. You should sleep, Merry.”

Merry nodded, yawning and sneezing again. He shifted a little, uncomfortable. He had not slept much the previous night, and he felt tired. “Can’t I have a bath first? I’m all sweaty.”


Aragorn put his hand on Merry`s forehead. “I think that athelas cured your fever. A bath would probably make you feel better, and since you are a bit congested it will not harm you to drink something warm either.”

“All right.”

“You’d better take that bath, Cousin” Pippin stated, pinching his nose shut, mischief suddenly in his eyes. “Or else I won’t stay and keep you company.” Pippin shot a quick glance at the King. “If my liege Lord does not have anything else in mind for me today that is?”

“I order you to take care of your cousin today, Peregrin.” Aragorn said before he bowed and left the hobbits, smiling fondly.   

“Oh!” Frodo said, reaching out to hug Merry tight. “I thought you were dying!”


“Dying?” Merry said, puzzled.


“You did look like I found you after the battle, Merry. You gave us quite a fright then, and you scared us today too.” Pippin joined in the hug, and the three cousins stayed like that for a while, relishing the feeling of being safe and having each other close.

“Then it is settled.” Pippin said, when the need for air made its presence after a while. “Now, you just wait here while I get that bath ready. You keep an eye on him Frodo!”


“Aye, Cousin” Frodo and Merry said with an identical mock salute. Merry then settled down comfortably, suppressing a sneeze, while Frodo pulled a chair up by his bedside.




<< Back


Leave Review
Home     Search     Chapter List